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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Black and White Villages of Herefordshire

Black and White Villages of Herefordshire

The Black and White Village Trail is one of Herefordshire’s most popular attractions and as it’s set out in a circuit of around 40 miles it’s an ideal way to visit some of the county’s most picturesque villages. As it is signposted the length of the route with brown and white tourist signs, it’s possible to join it at any point along the way.
The most popular place to begin the Trail is in the town of Leominster – named, they say, after Leofric, husband of Lady Godiva. Leaving the town, you head for Dilwyn, where a slight detour en route will lead you to Monkland Cheese Dairy. Here it’s possible to take a short tour of the dairy and watch Little Hereford cheese made by traditional methods. Visitors are also welcome to sample other local made cheeses in the Tea Room and gift shop.

Dilwyn has everything a typical English village should have, from the ancient Crown Inn and the 17th century forge, to the 13th century church and the rows of black and white cottages. The Great House is now a B&B and the gardens are open to the public.  Some of the house dates back to Tudor times and it is also reputed that Charles II danced here on the galleried landing.

Along the Trail is Weobley with its tall, elegant church spire and old memorial cross. Local legend has is that if you walk backwards seven times around each of the five tiered steps you will see the Devil! The main street has an abundance of black and white houses with an average age of 500 years. Charles I stayed here after the Battle of Naseby in 1645, and in more recent times the village has been used as a location by Hollywood filmmakers.

The tiny village of Sarnesfield has an attractive squat stone church and at Kinnersley is where you’ll find the Elizabethan house styled on a medieval castle which is known as Kinnersley Castle.  The Norman church has an unusual 13th century tower and inside are wall paintings designed by Bodley.

Just a few miles further along the road you’ll reach Eardisley. The village was once home to the famous Baskerville family, who were Lords of the Manor here for around 500 years. Eardisley’s most elderly resident is the 800-year old Great Oak with its huge hollow trunk thought to be the sole survivor of Hurstway Forest, which was mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

The road into Lyonshall takes you past Penrhos Court, a distinguished 14th century house. Next to the church is a motte – the remains of the 11th century Lyonshall Castle – and part of Offa’s Dyke (the old boundary between Mercia and Wales).

The picturesque village of Pembridge has a wealth of black and white buildings, some dating back to the 12th century. The 17th century inn is where it’s said the treaty was signed after the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross in 1461. In front is the Market Hall complete with the original mark-stone. St Mary’s Church has a distinctive detached bell tower and the bullet holes in the door are thought to date back to the Civil War. The gorgeous Westonbury Mill Water Gardens are about a mile and a half from the village. 

Eardisland village is chocolate-box pretty and a photographers’ dream with its manor house and half-timbered cottages. Close by is historic Burton Court which has beautifully laid out gardens.   Near the bridge is a restored grade II listed 17th century dovecot and a little further along is the Staick House, originally a Yeoman’s Hall dating back to around 1300 and reputed to be haunted. Eardisland completes the Black and White Village Trail.

Please view the video of the Black and White Village Trail which includes the Black and White Houses and Historical Churches along the way. Enjoy!

Should you require holiday accommodation when visiting the Black and White Villages you will find a wide selection for Bed and Breakfast accommodation on route of this trail

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